The London Classic Car Show Icon Award
The remarkable motor racing career of Nigel Mansell CBE was celebrated with a spectacular showcase at the London Classic Car Show.
From his arrival Mansell was on top form, delighting the crowds with some spectacular driving in an Eagle E-Type Speedster, 90’s Benetton F1 car and later a Ferrari Dino F1 car. Even in the tight spaces of the ExCeL he drove beautifully and proved why he was a deserved recipient of the Icon Award, his car control was superb!
It is now 25 years since Mansell finally achieved his holy grail by winning the FIA Formula One World Championship title in 1992. To mark that milestone a special display of his cars were available for all to see and enjoy. A Williams FW14B (his Championship winning car), his Crosslé he used to hone his craft, the Rover SD1 he once used in Rally Cross and the infamous Lotus-Renault he tried to push over the line in Dallas.
Mansell met many of his many lifelong fans, signed autographs and shared memories with show-goers in the Supagard Theatre.
Nigel first came to prominence when winning the British Formula Ford Championship in 1977 before graduating to Formula Three. He then made his Formula One debut for Lotus in 1980 and over the following 15 years won no fewer than 31 grands prix with Williams and Ferrari – an amazing tally only now topped by reigning four time world champion Lewis Hamilton among British F1 drivers.
The Englishman is also in the record books for being the only driver to win back-to-back Formula One World Championship and CART IndyCar World Series crowns, a feat he achieved when clinching America’s premier open-wheel title in 1993.
Nigel said “I’m delighted, honoured and, indeed, somewhat humbled that The London Classic Car Show has selected me to be its special ‘Icon’ at this year’s event. Seeing all those amazing cars which I raced during my career always brings back some incredible memories.”
Nigel Mansell’s Williams FW14B at The London Classic Car Show!
In 1992, after further development work was done to the gearbox, traction control and active suspension system of the FW14, the FW14B was born. It rapidly established itself as the dominant car for the season, allowing Mansell to wrap up the 1992 Drivers’ Championship with a then record 9 wins in a season, whilst Patrese scored a further win at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The main visible difference between the FW14 and FW14B were a pair of bulbous lumps above the FW14B’s front pushrods, which contained the active suspension technology.
The result was that there were many races in the 1992 season where Mansell and Patrese would gain 2 seconds on the rest of the field, especially in the early laps, which made the FW14B far superior to even the next best car, the McLaren MP4/7A. Another example of Williams’s dominance that year was at qualifying at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Mansell’s pole position-winning lap was a whole 2 seconds faster than Patrese, who in turn was a second faster than 3rd placed Ayrton Senna.
Images of the FW14B were very generously provided by Williams Heritage.